Fritto Misto di Mare

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45 minutes
| Servings: Serves 4 to 6


  • A total of 2-2.5 kilos (4-5 lbs) of mixed seafood, which should, at a minimum, should include:
    • Jumbo shrimp
    • Squid
  • Plus, if you like, one or more of the following:
    • Fresh sardines or smelts or other tiny fish
    • Scallops
    • Soft shell crabs
    • Crayfish


  1. Prepping the seafood: The shrimp (as well as other crustaceans like crayfish) should be shelled, but leave the tails on. (If you’ve found shrimp with their heads—a rarity here in the States but normal in Italy—leave them on, too.) If you’ve bought your squid already cleaned, almost all squid is these days, at least here in the US, then proceed to cut the squid sacks into rings about 1 cm (1/3 in) thick; the tentacles can be left whole. And don’t forget the tentacles; I agree with the Japanese, who say they’re the best part of the squid. If using soft shell crabs, cut them in half down the middle vertically, then horizontally, so that each crab makes four pieces. Scallops in the US are sold out of their shells, but if you are elsewhere and buy them in still in their shells, detach them by gently sliding a paring knife between the scallop and its shell. [Remove the roe sack as well.] The small fish, assuming you fishmonger has cleaned it for you—can be cooked as is. You should lay out your prepared seafood on paper towels to soak up any excess liquid:
  2. Flouring the Seafood: Now lightly flour your seafood. I like to do this by placing my seafood in a plastic bag, then spoon in 1-2 spoonfuls of flour, and shake the bag around until all the pieces are lightly coated. Then pour the contents of the bag into a colander. Shake the colander to eliminate the excess flour.
  3. Deep Frying the Seafood: Now it’s time to fry. Heat your oil in a fryer or a deep cast iron pot until it is very hot. In a deep fryer, just crank the temperature up as high as it will go, to a temperature of 190C/375F. If using frying in a pot, then use a [deep frying] thermometer if you have one; if not, then heat it until just before the oil begins to smoke. Deep dry the fish quickly in the hot oil, until the seafood is just cooked through and a light golden crust has formed on the outside. This should take no more than 2-3 minutes. Avoid overcooking the fish. Drain your fried fish on paper towels or a cooling rack as they are done.
  4. Serving the Seafood: Once all your seafood is cooked, transfer them to a serving platter (preferably lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil), sprinkle lightly with salt, and serve your fritto misto di mare with lemon wedges. It is crucial to serve fried foods as soon as possible after they’re done, while they’re still nice and hot and crispy.


Source: Memorie di Angelina